May 17th, 2013
We arrived in Paris around 10.00 am and, because of the size of the bus (with a dirty big trailer attached to the back) we had to park up out of town and be ferried into the hotel, which was in Montmartre. A fairly uneventful day as the crew guys prepared for the first show and the band guys tried to recover from the inevitable shock of the first overnighter. It always takes a day or so to get into the swing of sleeping in a tiny bunk on a moving vehicle. Around 4.00pm we headed down to the gig for the sound check.
The venue is literally a 10 minute walk from the hotel so we all had a nice genial stroll through the 18th Arrondissement taking in that heady Parisian vibe – a mixture of culture, seediness, history and edge.
Divan du Monde. What an amazing venue! A sort of run down old theatre which has been converted into a quasi gothic gin palace, like something you would find in a Tom Waits movie – vaguely redolent of some sinister circus with black mannequins and faintly voodoo decor. Love it!
As is usual with the first show, there are some technical teething troubles – lots of hired-in equipment which the crew guys are seeing for the first time – but, as usual they handled them all with great aplomb and we got cracking.
The show was amazing! We all LOVE playing in these smallish club type venues. It’s so much more intimate and connected – particularly on stage. In the bigger theatre venues the stages are so big that we all have to rely on the monitors to keep us all connected to each other, but on these small stages everyone is crushed together and it feels much more like being in a band.
Lisa was on absolute top form. I don’t know how she does it but, for those of you who are coming to any of the shows, you really are in for a treat! She is totally up for it!
Divan du Monde, Paris – 16th May 2013
The crowd were fantastic and we couldn’t have wished for a better start to the tour. For me, the way to tell how into it the audience are is when you play a new tune. Often a crowd will drift a little when you play a song they don’t know, only to come to life again at the opening bars of one of the hits. However, last night they were totally in to the new songs – even shushing some guy at one side of the hall who was pissed and concentrating more on impressing his girlfriend than enjoying the show (there’s always one).
While we are on that subject by the way, Lisa and Ian have written some great new songs and one in particular has become a firm favourite with us all. “Conversation” is a beautiful and powerful ballad in the classic Lisa Stansfield mould and we all love playing it and I’m sure you will all love hearing it.
Anyway, after the show we all climbed on to the bus for the drive to Amsterdam. There was a great deal of post first show euphoria which manifested itself largely in liquid form and, when I called it a day at 4.30am, Ian, Lisa and a handful of band and crew guys were still going strong as we sped towards Amsterdam and a day off before the next gig at the North Sea Jazz Club.
I woke up in my bunk at around 11.30am and checked into the hotel from where I am now writing this blog. I’m going to have a quick shower and then a number of us are heading in to town to go to the Van Gogh museum. We’re all meeting up for dinner later and, as it’s a night off, possibly the odd drink or two – you never know .
All in all, a great start to the tour and, as things inevitably tighten up as we go along, I’m really looking forward to the rest of the dates. In a way, it’s a bummer that we don’t have a show tonight as I think everyone would genuinely prefer to do it again straight away. Still, I’m sure we will find some other form of entertainment.
In the meantime, for your delectation, here are some photo highlights from yesterday (with apologies for the quality)
Dave O enjoys a gift given to Lisa after the show (I’m not sure he gets it….)